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Engineered stone or granite?

Marble BathroomWhat are the alternatives to granite worktops and to marble worktops? Engineered stone is one of the kinds of worktops that can make a great investment. Engineered or manmade stone may offer more flexibility than other kinds of stone. The additives put into engineered stone include polymers and resins that help the stone to bend under great weights, for example. They may also be more resistant to scratching because of the constituents. There are a variety of resins that can be applied to stone to enable these worktops to be heat resistant too. There are also dyes that can colour a piece of stone so that it matches any kitchen environment. Engineered stone will usually comprise at least ninety per cent stone. Why? There are laws and regulations – both at the European and the UK level – which state that a stone surface has to contain a minimum amount of stone in order to be marketed and sold as such.

On the flip side of this, natural stone such as marble can look extremely stylish – to the point that it is a more attractive investment, despite its expense. Its expense is tied up with its purity. Unlike engineered stone, marble stone is hewn from slabs. It’s like the difference between a processed beef burger and a steak. The cut of the stone has to be attractive, and it takes the skills of a good stone mason and tools with a surgical precision to make this possible.

Acidic liquids can mark the surface of a marble worktop, and it is more prone to scratches than non treated stone. However, with relatively careful maintenance, it can be a remarkable addition to a kitchen. Coupled with this is the fact that marble or granite worktops can also be treated so that the surface isn’t likely to scratch and it isn’t as prone to damage. The porousness of such surfaces is also reduced with these treatments, making damage from water or liquid almost impossible. Speaking of granite worktops, they certainly aren’t as prone to damage as marble. Granite worktops are hardier than marble worktops. Granite worktops are composed of one of the densest and hardest of the natural stones, so it is scratch resistant. They too have to be cut with great skill by expert stonemasons. Granite worktops may actually be surprisingly affordable – if you choose the right type of granite. It is resistant to freezing and heat compared to other natural surfaces such as slate. Granite is also very easy to maintain, although certain bleaches ought to be avoided when it is being cleaned.

There are numerous resources – both online and off – that you can use to install natural stone surfaces yourself. There are online video tutorials that will show how best to install a granite. However, a job that is professionally carried out, by accredited tradesmen, may be the best option. You can get quotes from various sources before employing anyone to install a granite worktop.

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